(ARA) - Part of the excitement of travel is the thrill of the unexpected, never quite knowing what will happen. While most of the time that's a good thing, every now and then, surprises can be less than enjoyable, especially if it involves getting sick or hurt while away from home.
All it takes is a little foresight and effective planning to ensure that your trip - wherever you're headed - is safe, fun and memorable in all the right ways. Below are some essential tips for staying healthy while traveling away from home.
Don't forgo first aid
You might think it's a waste of space in your already tight suitcase, but a small first aid or medical kit is always a smart idea. You'll want to stock it appropriately for wherever you're headed, but some good general items to have on hand are bandages, gauze, disinfectant, pain relievers, tweezers, allergy pills, antibiotic cream, sunscreen/aloe and medicine for stomach upset.
Protect against problems
Whether you are traveling 50 or 5,000 miles from home, there is always a possibility that you'll get sick or be involved in an accident. Purchasing a membership from a travel and medical emergency assistance company like On Call International before you leave will help eliminate your worries. Travelers can purchase a single-time trip or annual membership which include medical and travel assistance services like a 24-hour nurse helpline, emergency medical transportation, 24/7 emergency travel arrangements, worldwide legal assistance and more.
Watch what you eat
While it's particularly true when you're traveling abroad, being careful about what you eat and drink is often applicable on trips within the United States as well. One common culprit is buffet food. While a vast array of edibles laid beautifully out for your indulgence seems inviting, it is notoriously difficult to keep foods at their proper temperatures on a buffet line. Make sure that the hot foods are hot, and the cold foods are cold. If you're traveling to a country where the water supply is not potable, make it a rule to only eat foods that have been peeled or thoroughly cooked - skip the salads and go for the sautees.
Don't fear the needle
When you're traveling to destinations with endemic diseases like malaria or yellow fever, make sure that you do your research and make an appointment with a travel health clinic. Some shots only need to be updated after quite a few years (like tetanus, with boosters recommended for adults every 10 years), but it's always a good idea to face your fears and take the jabs. If you're staying within the country, flu vaccinations should be a priority, since disease spreads easily in busy airports and on airplanes.
By planning ahead and making smart decisions, your travel plans are even more likely to go off without a hitch. When your trip is free of health-related hassles, you can be sure it'll be one to remember. For more information about safe travel and medical assistance memberships, visit www.oncallinternational.com.